News and Insights

Debit Cards Issued by the State of New York to Pay Tax Refunds will be Treated as Abandoned Property if Not Activated One Year after Date Issued

Tax Development Jul 01, 2011

As part of New York’s 2011-2012 budget, tax refunds in the form of state-issued debit cards will have a one-year life before New York considers the refund “abandoned property.” If a taxpayer does not activate the tax refund debit card within one year of the date it was issued, the tax refund will be treated as abandoned property and paid to the New York State Comptroller (“Comptroller”). The lawful holder of the debit card may, upon submission of sufficient proof, claim the tax refund from the Comptroller. If state funds are available, the Comptroller will issue the claimed amount to the taxpayer. However, if state funds are not available, the Comptroller must include claim amounts for abandoned property in the next appropriations request by the Legislature. When the funds are subsequently available, the abandoned property claims will be paid (without interest).

Prior to passage of the 2011-2012 budget, New York law already provided that unpaid checks or drafts on state bank accounts are abandoned property after one year and no longer valid. The 2011-2012 budget amends relevant laws by adding debit cards issued for paying tax refunds to the items that may be treated as abandoned property and then subsequently claimed by a taxpayer.

2011-2012 New York State Budget (Laws of 2011, Chap. 61, Part U, Sections 19 and 20); N.Y. Aband. Prop. Law § 1315(4); N.Y. State Fin. Law § 102